ADL Meeting in Washington, DC Focuses on Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, Immigration and Extremism
New York, NY, May 3, 2006 … The strong show of support for Kadima in the recent Israeli election showed a broad national consensus for disengagement from the West Bank, which Israel will undertake with or without negotiations with the Palestinians, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a national meeting Anti-Defamation League (ADL) leaders in Washington, D.C.
"I prefer that we will be able to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians … but we will not wait for ever," Mr. Olmert told the League's ADL Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference in an address carried live via satellite from Jerusalem.
"The outcome of the elections means that we can move forward and that we have the mandate," Mr. Olmert continued. "And I'm going to use this mandate in the most effective manner in order to indeed implement this plan and to ultimately reach a new reality in the Middle East between us and the Palestinians."
Mr. Olmert's address was one highlight of the three-day meeting April 23-25 that brought together nearly 500 ADL leaders from across the country to hear from administration officials, Congressional representatives, ambassadors, foreign policy experts and others on a broad array of issues affecting the Jewish community, the United States and the State of Israel.
Immigration and Extremists
At a special session on immigration, ADL released a report detailing how extremists have seized upon the immigration debate as an opportunity to advance their agenda of hate, bigotry, and white supremacy. The report outlined an increase in both the level of rhetoric and violent attacks aimed at Hispanic Americans, in many cases carried out by those identifying themselves with white supremacist or racist ideologies. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said of the report, "For us that is a very real concern as the national discussion on immigration continues to gain momentum."
Cecilia Munoz, Vice President for Public Policy at the National Council of La Raza, a national Latino civil rights organization, joined ADL for the release of the report and praised its leadership in bringing to light the extremist reactions. "This is an underreported element of the immigration reform debate," she said. "We are in an unequivocally difficult time, and what we see on our airwaves and hear on the radio and see on the Internet is often terrifying. And it has an impact on the very good people who are trying to get us to answers and to reasonable reforms."
Other Highlights of ADL's 2006 Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference:
• Intelligence Director: America Faces 'Unprecedented' Threat
Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte discussed the U.S. government's efforts to detect and deter terrorist threats. Ambassador Negroponte said America is engaged in "an unprecedented war on terror" and that the intelligence community was working to improve coordination of resources and information sharing. (transcript)
• Meacham on Religion in Today's America
Jon Meacham, the Managing Editor of Newsweek and author of the just-published "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation," discussed the arguments made in his new book about the role of religion in American history and the American tradition of religious liberty, making a plea for a moderate course between the extremists of left and right.
• Krauthammer Honored for Contributions to Journalism
In recognition of his outstanding career in the field of journalism and in respect for his contributions to the ideals embodied in the First Amendment, ADL honored syndicated Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer with its distinguished ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. (transcript)
• Ambassadors Discuss Post-Elections Prospects for Peace
A panel discussion brought together Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Nabil Fahmy, the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S., and C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs to discuss the prospects for peace in the aftermath of the elections in both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
• Sir Nicholas Receives ADL 'Courage to Care' Award
Sir Nicholas Winton, who together with a few volunteers helped to save 669 mostly Jewish Czech children from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis, was honored with ADL's Courage to Care Award, which recognizes rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. The award was presented to Sir Nicholas, known as "Britain's Schindler," at a session marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. (More)
• Harnessing Technology to Combat Bias and Built Respect
The League previewed a new groundbreaking online educational initiative to combat bias and promote respect. The Online A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute will provide on-demand, Web-based training programs and services reaching into schools, homes, corporations, law enforcement agencies and other entities. (More)
• Experts Discuss Issues on ADL Agenda
ADL leaders heard from experts in a series of breakout sessions dealing with current issues on the League's agenda, including:
-- The threat of genocide in Darfur, featuring David Rubenstein, Coordinator of the Save Darfur Coalition and John Prendergast, Senior Advisor with the International Crisis Group;
-- "Democracy in the Middle East: Will it Succeed?" with Ambassador Edward S. Walker Jr. of the Middle East Institute; Tamara Cofman Wittes of the Brookings Institution and Husain Haqqani of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
-- "Terrorist Threats to the Homeland and Beyond" with Daniel Benjamin of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and Daniel Glaser, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Treasury Department.
-- "From Podcasts to Blogs: The Dangerous New Domains of Cyberhate" with Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Christopher Wolf, Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP and Chair of ADL's Internet Task Force.
• Views from Capitol Hill
Offering their perspectives on the current political climate in Washington were Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC). A session on "Musings from Inside the Beltway" featured the political writers E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post and Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.